Sunday, December 27, 2015

Come unto Christ

I have realized that as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I have been as guilty as any member of any religion can be. I can falsely assume that my activity in the church is my saving grace and that which qualifies me.  It is not.

Being an active member of the church can allow me to have experiences in which I come to know and have a testimony of and faith in my Savior and His healing power to redeem me, but it isn't my activity that does that. I can be actively engaged and still not actually have faith in and rely on His saving grace.

My involvement in my religion is just a means to that end, which is what I believe is meant by "enduring to the end." It is my relationship, faith, and trust in Him which allows His atoning sacrifice  to redeem me. 

I am grateful that each week I can go and worship and be reminded of His ultimate sacrifice on my behalf. I am grateful that I have scriptures which testify of Him and help me feel His love and increase my desire to serve Him. It isn't even my service that will save me. It is just a way to feel closer to Him as I love the people He loves and as I do what He wants me to do. My works only increase my love and dependence on Him and helps me feel His presence.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


In the last few days, the message of bringing light into a darkened world keeps showing up for me. It reminded me of this sampler from my primary years as a child in the 60's.

My sampler is long gone but today I reflected on the message of that sampler and how profound it is.

I want to be like the stones that the brother of Jared used to light the vessels as they crossed the ocean. I want to be the light in a ever-increasing darkened world.

I want to be the light of the kind of love and compassion that the Savior brought into this world. No, He didn't condone sin and he was especially hard on those who vainly just lived the letter of the law and judged others if they didn't. He also stood up strong and forceful to those who would defy the holiness of the temple and everything it stands for.

Because I am weak and imperfect, I need to draw upon His grace in order to be His light. Please don't ever judge Him or His gospel by my weaknesses or the imperfections of other members of His church because we are all imperfect. But please, look to His light. The light of love and goodness. We need more goodness and I am striving to be a reflection of goodness.

I want to give thanks to all those people in my life who are the light--who share His light with me. I am surrounded by incredibly Christ-like people who reflect His light.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jennifer Lawrence, just say NO to Hollywood

It is no surprise that the morals in our country are slowly going down hill. But I just read something that was extremely troubling to me.

A news feed said that Jennifer Lawrence admitted she had to get drunk in order to do a sex scene for a movie. I guess it bothered her that her costar was married and she felt uncomfortable doing it. I can't help but think that her internal sense of being was going to be violated and it appears she had to alter it with alcohol so she could do something that was possibly against her inherent moral code.

It is time we collectively stand up for our moral values and courageously stop this trend. Jennifer Lawrence, you are a gifted actress and if you stand up and say, "this doesn't make me feel comfortable," then maybe we can reclaim the moral values in movies that will positively support individuals, marriages, families and communities. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Relieving Stress

I love it when some frivolous thing I have decided to do has some powerful benefits. A recent article in USA Today talked about how activities such as crocheting, writing, or painting (things that have brought me great joy) are also ways to relieve stress. I have found that we are all born to create something, and if in the process it also alieves stress; then BINGO. I have always maintained that something worthwhile has a multitude of benefits.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My talents

I have always declared that I have two talents. I fall asleep easily and sleep really deeply and I don't have to use the restroom very often. Now that I have an app that reminds me to drink water more often and after reading an article that says that people with higher IQs have trouble falling asleep, I now realize I was just dehydrated and dumb. So much for those two talents. I will just hang onto my talent of being able to put away a lot of food at a buffet.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pay attention

In the last couple of days I keep getting the message over and over again; pay attention.

Pay attention to what brings me joy. 

Pay attention to what brings peace. 

Pay attention to the needs of others. 

Fulfilling the needs of others will bring me joy and peace. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I want to write a book

For the last couple of years I have planned and been building a new home. It has been an exciting and exhilarating process. I love house plans, I love organizing, and I love decorating.

But now that it is coming to an end, I want to look forward to my new project--the self-help book I have always wanted to write. I wouldn't be writing it to really help anyone else. I recognize that I need the most help but in writing I hope to gain the most. Just like a teacher always gains the most. I guess that means it will kind of be a selfish pursuit but I hope along the way it will benefit other people.

I wanted to make the declaration that coming January 1 of this next year I will put my heart and soul and spare time into writing a book in hopes of completing it by the end of the year. Okay, I've put it out there, now I need to just "DO IT!"

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Scripture Reading

Reading the scriptures isn't just something on my to do list. It should be something that changes who I am and what I do. It isn't just a task to check off. My daily immersion should inspire me to have a change of heart which automatically changes behavior. And because everything is fleeting, especially on the land-and-takeoff runway that I call my brain, I have to refuel every, single, day. Yes, I am THAT needy.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Don't take things personally

One of the biggest lessons I have learned is not to take things personally. It is amazing how much peace and joy I am able to feel when I am not easily offended or think what someone else chooses is a reflection of me.

This doesn't mean that I don't take responsibility for anything I have done that makes someone respond to me inappropriately, it just means I don't need to be undone by it and especially to react in bitter revenge. It means I quietly take a hard look at myself and repent of what I need to be sorry for but know that the other person's behavior is their issue not mine.

For example, if someone gets mad at me while driving and does a choice hand gesture, I am willing to realize that maybe I wasn't as courteous of a driver as I should have been, but I also acknowledge that their reaction was inappropriate and I don't have to believe I am deserving of that kind of unkind reaction and it is their personal issue and not mine. By not taking it personally, I don't give their behavior undo attention and thus I don't have to let it upset me.

That is just a simple example. There are more personally devastating events that can so easily escalate hard feelings and bitterness if I take someone's destructive behavior personally. Choosing to let go of taking things personally means I also let go of thoughts of personal inadequacy which can lead to retaliation. I get in a place where I am not wounded but instead I am able to be humble, submissive, and understanding of whatever is causing someone to act out.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Beware of Pride

I love this quote by Audrey Hepburn's mother. “I can really take no credit for any talent that Audrey may have. If it’s real talent, it’s God-given. I might as well be proud of a blue sky, or the paintings in the Flemish exhibition at the Royal Academy.” —her mother, Baroness Ella van Heemstra Hepburn- Ruston

I remember years ago in a Sunday School class after President Benson's talk on pride and his statement that there is no such thing as righteous pride, and in our discussion we tried to claim that being proud of our children is okay.

This quote by the Baroness (somehow that title offers more credibility, doesn't it?) puts that kind of pride in perspective. Being proud of something means we are taking credit for it. Isn't it better to just be grateful to Heavenly Father because anything good in our life is due to His generous offerings to us.

From now on, I want to declare gratitude instead of pride.

Just a side note. After writing this I just happened to read Helaman 13:22 in my sequential reading.  "Ye do not remember the Lord you God in the things with which he hath blesssed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting..."

It never ceases to amaze me how timely the messages in the scriptures are for which I am tremendously grateful.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Have or Make Time

While hiking this morning, I overheard a guy tell a girl that he couldn't do something because A. He didn't have time, and B. He didn't really want to do it.

Now I thought this to myself. Not to judge him but to get clarity about what is the truth about time and how we choose to use it.

What he really should have said is, A. I don't really want to do it, and thus B. I choose not to make time for it.

Let's just get clear that we will MAKE time for that which we really want to do. It is always a choice and we need to make sure we aren't using the excuse that we don't have time.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Addicted to Church?

Someone recently told me that I am addicted to church. It might seem like that but I know that I am really addicted to finding truth and of course drawing closer to my Heavenly Father, and in church I find true principles that I want to live by and I feel His Spirit more abundantly. I also get to rub shoulders with people who are striving for that same truth and way of living.

Positive psychology research has found the benefit of a social network such as organized religion in focusing on the lifestyle choices that support healthy well being and happiness. Individual spirituality is a worthy pursuit but being involved in a organized religion is even more valuable.

Of course in a church setting and especially in a church where neighbors all go to church together and then can watch each other on a daily basis practice trying to live those principles and often falling short, it is easy to say that churches are full of hypocrites.

It would be easier to go to a church miles away from our neighbors and then only see them at their Sunday best. There would be less temptation to judge or be judged. I, however, am grateful that I get a chance to know that we are all doing the best we can and that even when we fail, we can learn from our experience and get a chance to heal because of the Atonement. I can be humbled by the fact that my church-going neighbors see my flaws, and I can have more compassion when I see theirs.

I do want to add that my search for true principles has also taken me back to school and on a continually quest to read good books and listen to inspiring talks by a variety of sources from all walks of life. Learning truth and trying to be a better person is my addiction. It is going to take an eternity.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Writing to heal

I am a verbal processor. I like to talk about emotional experiences to get clarity. But even better than that, I have found that writing is the best emotional release. The beauty of spilling out my emotions on paper is that I not only avoid boring other people (go ahead and thank me), but alone I can purge my anxious thoughts from my body where they would just fester and grow.  I can then literally see them printed in brutal honesty on the page; and with new eyes, I immediately receive divine clarity. It is as if when I honestly write about my pain, God is sending me answers written by my own hand to heal that pain. It is a sacred experience.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thoughts have power

I have spent so many years trying to change some bad habits. It just came to me that the bad habit usually (probably always) follows a bad thought. So now instead of just trying to stop a bad habit, I will change my negative thought. I will choose to think of something I am grateful for instead. Thoughts are powerful and grateful thoughts can change everything.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Gratitude Practice

One of a suggested exercise for practicing gratitude is to think about something that is coming to an end and think and write about how grateful I am for having had it.

Living in our current home is coming to an end, and I am immensely grateful for this home and all the memories it holds. Even some of the bad memories because I can now laugh at or learn from them. I am grateful for how this home has blessed our family. It is interesting that when I know that I am leaving something behind, how much better it looks and how much more I appreciate it.

We are currently building our third home, and what I experienced in the past while building a new home was how easy it was to start to be frustrated with the current home in anticipation of having something better. But with a more grateful mindset, I can see and appreciate this home and not feel as anxious to move on. Feeling and experiencing gratitude is such a blessing because it helps me find joy in the moment by completely appreciating the here and now.

Thinking about and appreciating this home has made me realize I had better take lots of pictures before I move so that I can still look at the places that hold some of my best memories. Something tells me the new owners wouldn't appreciate me breaking in to sit in rooms or doing a little window peeking, but I could be wrong. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just Professing or Actually Practicing?

In reading the book The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, her statement that, "important differences between professing love and practicing love" was a beautiful epiphany for me and makes me think about the many ways that it is not enough to just profess something but always taking it to the next level and actually practice it. By definition, the word practice is the actual application of an idea or belief.

In the spiritual realm-I can profess my love of God but if I am not practicing that love it is just like the scripture says, "faith without works is dead." My works certainly don't save me; only the atonement of my Savior can do that. But practicing living His commandments, especially loving others, helps me feel His divine and constant love and draws me closer to Him and increases my gratitude for His life and sacrifice in my behalf.

In the physical realm-I can sit here and eat chocolate bon bons and type in my blog about the importance of being physically healthy and intellectually know all the ways to take good care of my body; but unless I actually get up and get moving and actually eat all those good foods that I have put on my pinterest board (novel idea), I won't benefit.

In the mental realm-I can say over and over how much more I know it is important to continue learning and reading, but unless I devote time to actually practice an intellectual pursuit, just professing its benefits won't do me any good.

In the emotional realm-I know how beneficial gratitude and I can profess that all the day long, but I have to practice gratitude by actually thinking, writing, and expressing gratitude. I have to work at developing my gratitude muscles.

In the social realm-I can profess my love to others but actually practicing love takes it to a whole new level. It is in the little things that I exercise my love. I love this quote found in the book by Bell Hooks, "To begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling is one way in which anyone using the word in this manner automatically assumes accountability and responsibility."

Isn't it interesting that practice takes discipline and that disciple is a root of the word. Time to take action and go practice. Time to get disciplined so I can be a better disciple of Christ.

Friday, August 7, 2015

DO NOT Take for Granted

I hate entitlement issues. But how often I have taken so much of what I have been blessed with for granted? That is the kind of entitlement that I should be the most concerned with. When I don't feel as grateful for what I have and want something different.

Just this morning I was looking out the window at the fabulous view we have from our home. As I think about leaving this home in a few months, I realize how much I have to be grateful for living here. It is so easy to get excited about a new home that I forget how much I have to be grateful for right here and now. I realize that because I have lived here for almost 30 years that there is much that I have taken for granted. Taken something for granted means that I am not being grateful and feeling and expressing gratitude is one of the basic keys of happiness.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Turn around and teach

Once I had my hand writing analyzed by a women in California who was often hired to analyze the writing of famous people (famous people like me). She said that I take teaching to a whole new level. And this is why. I love to read to learn, and I have discovered that writing about what I read helps increase my understanding. Then I like to turn around and teach what I have just learned and come to understanding and know it benefits me so much more than those I teach.

That is one of the reasons I love the church I belong to. We all get to teach, and this Sunday I will be teaching about how a mother can spend effective time with her children.

I was surprised that out of a list of 10 specific ways, riding down the street with a stubborn and deviant 12 year old son on top of your car wasn't listed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Make Everyday an Adventure

I ended this day with a great thrill on the sky coaster at Lagoon with my daughter and son-in-law. It was an amazing adrenaline rush that stayed with me long after the experience.

I love setting an intention for adventure and purpose. Hours, days, weeks, and years can pass too quickly and I am determined to live life with gusto.

I love instagram and facebook because I am inspired by the eventful things I see people do and places they have gone. It also helps me to document what I have done because at this age I might not remember what I did yesterday (okay, let's admit it, an hour ago) and having it recorded helps me to appreciate what I have experienced and helps me want to keep up the momentum. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Do what is right for you

This morning I ran across a list of 7 things to do in the morning that have scientifically been proven to make people happier. It is a great list and certainly has some interesting suggestions but you have to know this about scientific studies. They find our what is statistically the best thing for possibly 95% of those randomly studied. But you or I might be what they call an outlier. We might fall into that 5% statistic.

With that understanding, it can be beneficial to see what works best for the majority of people, but it is always good to be aware and in tune with what works best for me. To realize that what is good for someone doesn't necessarily work as well for me.

Your and mine mission--should we decide to accept it--is to find that which is right for each of us individually. And then give others the space to discover that for themselves. One of the many mistakes I have made is to automatically assume what is best for me is also best for everyone and then judge others according to my standards. Not so. Just because getting up at the crack of dawn with a perky and enthused attitude ready to conquer and change the world works for me doesn't mean it should also work for that lazy, good for nothing, slop of a person who sleeps until noon. (Whoops, that might have sounded a tad judgmental and maybe ever so slightly self righteous. Sorry.)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

You've heard the tale of the two wolves in each of us. For those who haven't, here it is:

One evening, an elderly
cherokee brave told his
grandson about a battle that
goes on inside people.

he said "my son, the battle is
between two 'wolves' inside us all.
one is evil. it is anger,
envy, jealousy, sorrow,
regret, greed, arrogance,
self-pity, guilt, resentment,
inferiority, lies, false pride,
superiority, and ego.

the other is good.
it is joy, peace love, hope serenity,
humility, kindness, benevolence,
empathy, generosity,
truth, compassion and faith."

the grandson though about
it for a minute and then asked
his grandfather:

"which wolf wins?..."

the old cherokee simply replied,
"the one that you feed"

Yes, I have those two wolves but I also have two very different personalities, kind of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide but just a tad different. My Dr. Jekyll is serious and my Mr. Hyde is light hearted, fun, and sometimes downright crazy. Sometimes I go back and read some of my blog posts and say whoa Nellie, that sweet and serious girl is a real bore. I actually like the flippant, sarcastic girl a lot better. It is who I really am. So forgive me if I come across a tad irreverent. It is the real me. That other girl is an imposter and actually not very fun to be with. It was only my cover up when life got too hard and I started to take it too seriously.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Do What You Love

There is an interesting phenomenon about girls. When taking a self assessment test, they want to look on another person's paper to see how they are answering it. I tend to believe it is because girls by nature are nurturing and outward focused. In being of service to others, this is a good thing. But in finding out who we are, what our individual purpose is, and what we love to do, it is a big distraction and can lead us off course.

I remember when I was in college for the first time. You know, back when Plato and Socrates were roaming the earth.  I looked around and saw what most people were majoring in. Business. Now you have to know me. I don't have a business mind. I did loving accounting and statistics because I love numbers (can you say nerd?) but I detested my  economics, finance, and managerial classes. I knew that if I saved my economics textbooks I wouldn't ever have trouble going to sleep. They could be my sleeping pill. Read a chapter and I'm out. Actually it wouldn't take the whole chapter, just a few sentences.

And speaking of economics, don't be deceived if you are good at something. One of my economics professors said I had a real gift for it and I should major in it. What? And sleep through my entire college career?

No, business wasn't my passion. It wasn't until I went back to college after my youngest got into first grade and I was free of nagging my kids during the entire day, that I started to study my true love. Human development. It was an interest and passion that I had cues about when I was young. The first self help book I read in high school--Spiritual Roots of Human Relationships By Stephen R. Covey made my heart sing (more evidence of a nerd). Give me a little study of what makes a person tick and sprinkle in spirituality and my heart is belting it out like the Tabernacle Choir.

So I say, listen to my heart and do what I love and love what I do.    

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Blog a Day Keeps Distraction Away

This is day one of my intention to live everyday of this last month before I turn 60 will purpose and adventure. (I know what you're thinking. "You don't look a day older than 58--just decades older.")

The year that I committed to blogging everyday was a documented growth period for me. In that year I experienced one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, but it was beautiful how a blog a day helped me navigate through it and even benefit from it. There is something magical that happens when I put my thoughts on paper. We are talking like real fireworks happening when my pen touches paper (Insert Katy Perry's song here). I want that magical display to continue especially this month. Knowing I am going to record my thoughts in a public place everyday keeps me focused on the moment to moment. I am more motivated to think more deeply and experience life more fully.

Today I started the day and month with a 6-mile solo walk/run/hike. There is something wondrous about spending time alone especially spent in nature. I get to think my own thoughts with a significant awareness that my thoughts are elevated because I am being prompted from above. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Live what I love

I LOVE TO DANCE! This morning I put this on and danced to my heart's content. I worked up a sweat without noticing that it was exercise. The key to life is doing what I love. Listen to and follow my heart. Too bad chocolate covered cinnamon bears aren't as healthy as dancing is. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Rollercoaster Ride of Life

Image result for cannibal lagoonRiding the Cannonball ride at Lagoon for the first time was an exhilarating experience.  I have this weird tendency to a deeper meaning behind so many simple experiences. For me, lessons of life can be found everywhere.  I saw a life lesson in riding the Cannonball.

After getting aboard the coaster, it is taken up to the top of the structure and then the doors open to a high, panoramic view with no track in site. It is freaky. I have to say the only reason I could trust this roller coaster ride is because I have faith that it has been sufficiently tested and found to be safe.

Sometimes life opens up before me with that same scary view. I can't see the path before me, and I have to trust that my Heavenly Father has tested and found my path to be safe and will be with me as I take some of the twists and turns and steep declines. I can have faith that it will all work out and I can enjoy the ride. I love a good roller coaster ride, and that is definitely what I signed up for in this life.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lord, Is it I?

Image result for is it I Lord?If I am ever having a problem in a relationship, the most important thing I can do is ask this question and then start to write in my journal. The answer comes and I get to bow before my Heavenly Father and repent and be changed by Him. 

The other thing I need to do is make sure I do is still hold the other person accountable for their part. I have found that some people can have the tendency to see my taking responsibility for my part in the difficulties in the relationship automatically absolves them of any part they played. It doesn't.

Asking that question and being receptive of the answer that reveals sin is easier to do because I know and have faith in the power of the Atonement to redeem and heal the pain. It would be difficult to be totally naked before God and be open to having mistakes revealed if I didn't have faith in His healing power. I know that lack of faith in that power makes it much more difficult to be accountable. 

I have to guard against allowing myself to be someone scapegoat. Nothing I have done wrong can ever justify what someone else has done in response. Both parties need to be accountable before God. Everyone needs faith in the Atonement. Everyone needs to go on their own journey asking, "Lord is it I?"

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Passion for Traveling--New York

Because I have lived in mostly one square mile my whole life, I have a Dora the Explorer inside of who who loves to travel. I love staying close to my childhood roots, but I love to go and visit new places. I love to explore.

With this in mind, I thought I would share some of my travels; both to record and relive the joy and maybe I can help others know about interesting places to go, delicious foods to eat, and things to see and do.  So I will occasionally insert a little travel blog in my blog of self discovery. It will be sort of a vacation from heavy philosophizing that I am easily and naturally prone to. I will make my travel log as brief as possible.

Our favorite thing to do is hit as many musicals as we can. Here is the list from this visit.

Image result for gentleman's guide to love and murder

One actor plays several parts and is amazing. A fun night of comedy and music. Gotta love the feuding husband and wife spitting at each other. I highly recommend this play after you've seen all the other big hits.

Image result for aladdin musical

Image result for finding neverland new york
Exquisite costumes and the Genie's extended scene of singing and dancing was unbelievably entertaining and energetic. It was still entertaining even though I knew the plot.

Kelsey Grammer from Cheers and Frazier was great. We laughed in the first half and cried in the second. Powerful and moving. A definite must see. I loved it.

Image result for beautiful broadway show I think my favorite (just a tad over Finding Neverland) was this amazing story about Carole King. I usually look forward to a little break at intermission and am ready for the ending of a musical, but not with this one. I was sad at intermission and sad that it was over. I could definitely go see this again.